Lock cylinder difficult to operate

Lock cylinder difficult to operate

Lock cylinder difficult to operate

Locks over time can become difficult to use which can be due to either the lock itself or changes in the door or frame. In the first instance its important to isolate out which is causing the issue by operating the lock with the door in the open position.

The lock is stiff to operate with the door in the open position

We need to investigate the locking mechanism. Locks can become stiff to operate due to issues such as dirt in the lock cylinder, water ingress corroding the internal parts, lack of maintenance of the locking system, cold or hot weather causing the parts to cease or expand or finally the lock parts have simply broken through use.

If it’s the lock it could be either the lock barrel or the locking mechanism. To improve the lock barrel the best way to do this is with a graphite powder (we advise against WD 40 or a 3in1 type oil). A graphite powder can be found on online and can simply be blown into the lock cylinder and will improve the running of the key into the lock. A good hack here is to simply use a graphite pencil on the key and coating it in pencil lead.

One final check to make sure is to the cylinder fixing screw (the screw that holds the lock cyclinder to the door) isn’t too loose – if it is the screw head would be visibly proud of the lock gearing in this instance you can tighten the screw. Also it may be the screw is overtightened, this may require taking a phillips screw driver and slackening off half a turn.

If it’s the locking mechanism its important to check the running gear and lubricate it with a light engineering oil such as 3 in1. Any parts which are restricting movement should be checked to ensure that nothing is jamming the mechanism. Any loose parts can be re-tightened with a Philips head screwdriver.

If the lock works fine with the door in the open position we need investigate the door and frame

Many customers are surprised how much movement there is in a door, but as the door tolerances are very fine any small movement in the door leaf through heat expansion on a hot day for example will impact how easy it is to open the door and then lock it. We advise that you check for door issues on a day that is not too hot or cold.

First check around the door and find where it is catching and that nothing is stopping the door from closing tightly. Frequently gravel or small stones carried in on a shoe are enough to stop the door from fully closing making it then hard to line the locks up with the keeps correctly.

If there are no impairments stopping the door from closing correctly but you can find some points where the door is not sitting squarely in the frame you can read our advice for how to adjust the door to correct this problem and alleviate pressure on the lock.